Report | Communities on Fire: Confronting Hate Violence and Xenophobic Political Rhetoric

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern, and Arab communities are the target of increasing levels of hate violence and xenophobic political rhetoric in the United States, with record attacks since the election of President Trump in November, 2016, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) said in a report released today. The uptick in anti-Muslim attacks runs parallel to the surge in this administration’s anti-Muslim policies and rhetoric.

The report, Communities on Fire,” documents hate violence and xenophobic political rhetoric aimed at our communities from Election Day 2016 to Election Day 2017. SAALT documented 302 incidents of hate violence and xenophobic political rhetoric aimed at South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern, and Arab communities in the United States, of which an astounding 82% were motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment. The 302 incidents are a more than 45% increase from the year leading up to the 2016 election cycle, levels not seen since the year after September 11.

SAALT’s report draws a direct line between this administration’s anti-Muslim agenda and increasing attacks, revealing that of the 213 incidents of hate violence documented, one in five perpetrators invoked President Trump’s name, his administration’s policies, or his campaign slogans during attacks.

“Our nation prides itself on the freedom for people of all religious traditions to practice their faith without fear or intimidation,” said Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of SAALT. “However, through its policies and rhetoric, this administration’s incessant demonization of Islam has created an environment of hate and fear-mongering for Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim. Deadly shootings, torched mosques, vandalized homes and businesses, and young people harassed at school have animated an acutely violent post-election year. This administration must break eye contact with white supremacy if our nation is to live up to its highest ideals of religious freedom.”

The report also underlines the way intersectionality informs hate – both the identities of victims targeted and the systems that criminalize our communities. Women who identify or are perceived as South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern, or Arab were the targets of attack in 28% of the 213 documented hate incidents post-election. Women who wear hijab or head scarves are particularly vulnerable, accounting for 63% of the documented hate incidents targeting women. The report discusses the intersection of immigration, racial profiling and surveillance, and criminal justice policies that compound against our communities.

“The growth of white supremacist hate groups and mounting attacks on our communities are proof positive that this administration’s anti-Muslim agenda is not making America great, it’s making Americans afraid,” Raghunathan said. “The daily decay of our democracy can only be repaired by dignity and full inclusion for all Americans, regardless of faith, race, or national origin. SAALT and our allies are going to go the distance to see this demand realized.”

CONTACT: Vivek Trivedi – vivek@saalt.org

One Year of the Muslim Ban. One Year of Resistance.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Saturday, January 27, 2018 is the one-year anniversary of the Trump administration’s first Muslim Ban, a blatantly Islamophobic order barring entry of immigrants and refugees from seven majority-Muslim countries. This administration’s divisive rhetoric and policies, including several iterations of the Muslim Ban, have led to increasing attacks aimed at Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim in the United States.

To mark one year of this administration’s immoral Muslim Ban, Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), released the following statement:

“No one should fear for their safety because of their country of origin, how they pray, speak, or dress. Yet that is exactly what this administration attempted to accomplish one year ago today when it signed into the law its first Muslim Ban. Over the year, through a combination of hateful rhetoric, toxic tweets, and polluted policies, including four iterations of the Muslim Ban, this administration has made every effort to institutionalize Islamophobia.

A forthcoming report by SAALT reveals the deadly consequences of this administration’s anti-Muslim agenda. From Election Day 2016 to Election Day 2017, SAALT documented 302 incidents of hate violence and xenophobic political rhetoric aimed at South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Arab, and Middle Eastern individuals in the U.S., of which an astounding 82% were motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment. It is enough to simply be perceived as Muslim to be a target of attack. This marks a 45% increase in hate violence from the year leading up to the presidential election, levels of violence not seen since the year after September 11.

While the White House does everything it can to normalize hate, our communities continue to normalize resistance to this administration’s anti-Muslim agenda. One year ago we took to the airports and streets in defiance of the Muslim Ban. Today the struggle continues, and our communities are mobilizing nationwide in defiance of division and in furtherance of equality, fairness, and respect. Every day, for as long as it takes, we will demand that our nation’s values are rooted in celebrating differences, not criminalizing them.

The Muslim Ban has no place in our society—not one year ago, not now, not ever.”

***

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) is a national, nonpartisan, non-profit organization that fights for racial justice and advocates for the civil rights of all South Asians in the United States. Our ultimate vision is dignity and full inclusion for all.

CONTACT: Vivek Trivedi – vivek@saalt.org

SAALT Responds to Government Shutdown, Demands DREAM Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

On Friday night, due to the President’s callous decision to terminate DACA in September and the ongoing inability of Congress to do its job and pass a clean DREAM Act, the government shutdown.

In response, Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), released the following statement:

“America’s laws should reflect our core values of fairness, equality, and freedom. Yet the toxic anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies of this administration continue to fly in the face of our nation’s values and led to today’s government shutdown.

Since the President decided to terminate DACA in September, over 800,000 DREAMers have lived in complete uncertainty. More than 15,000 DREAMers have already lost their status and face the daily threat of deportation. The U.S. is home to 450,000 undocumented Indians, in addition to at least 23,000 Indians and Pakistani DREAMers. The absence of a DREAM Act puts all their lives at risk.

Month after month, Congress refuses to do the will of the people, despite overwhelming bipartisan voter support for DACA and the DREAM Act. The President and his allies have stained negotiations with the most vulgar and insulting language imaginable, revealing exactly what this administration thinks of immigrant communities. By what alchemy does this make America great?

A government shutdown hurts everyone, from government employees to the hundreds of thousands of DREAMers who still face the threat of deportation from the only country they’ve ever called home.

DREAMers are not bargaining chips. To play political pinball with their lives does not reflect the core values of our nation. We need Congress to protect immigrant communities, and to do their job to ensure dignity and full inclusion for all Americans. This is the will of the people. Congress must do its job once and for all and pass a clean DREAM Act. There’s no time to lose.”

***

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) is a national, nonpartisan, non-profit organization that fights for racial justice and advocates for the civil rights of all South Asians in the United States. Our ultimate vision is dignity and full inclusion for all.

CONTACT: Vivek Trivedi – vivek@saalt.org

Stop Ravi’s Deportation – We need your help!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Ravi Ragbir, a prominent immigrant rights activist, community leader, and Executive Director of the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, was detained while checking-in to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at 26 Federal Plaza in New York City today. Ravi’s detention is part and parcel of the escalating raids and deportations our communities continue to experience under the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant agenda.

Here are ways you can help us secure Ravi’s immediate release:

CALL THE FOLLOWING ICE OFFICES:
NYC ICE Field Office Director: 212-238-4530
NYC ICE Field Office: 212-264-4213
ICE Office of Policy: 202-732-4292
You can use the following script:

“Hi, my name is ___________, and I am calling to request that ICE release Ravi Ragbir, A Number: 044-248-862. Ravi was detained today in New York City. Ravi is a husband, father, and a cherished community leader, and we need him here in the United States. I respectfully ask you to release him from detention and grant him a new stay of removal. Thank you.”

CALL YOUR LOCAL ELECTED OFFICIALS:
If you live in New York, call:
Senator Chuck Schumer: 212-486-4430 (NYC); 202-224-6542 (DC)
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: 212-688-6262 (NYC); 202-224-4451 (DC)
If you live outside of New York, call your local representatives in Congress. You can find their contact information here.

You can use the following script:

“Hello, my name is ___, and I calling about Ravi Ragbir, A Number: 044-248-862. Ravi was detained today in New York City. Ravi is a husband, father, and cherished community leader, and we need him here in the United States. I respectfully ask you to meet with DHS Secretary Nielsen and urge her to release Ravi from detention and grant him a new stay of removal. Thank you.”

SAALT and our partners nationwide continue to demand justice and full inclusion for our communities, and we will continue pushing back against this administration’s anti-immigrant agenda. Please let us know if you witness any ICE raids or arrests by emailing us at info@saalt.org. We are going to go the distance with and for our communities until justice is served.

SAALT Statement on Court Order Blocking DACA Termination

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) welcomes yesterday’s decision from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to continue implementing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for those who have already received DACA status. In a strongly worded ruling, District Judge William Alsup blocked the Trump administration’s devastating decision in late 2017 to terminate the DACA program, citing the harmful impacts on families, employers, and communities across the nation. Judge Alsup’s order directs the administration to accept DACA renewal applications from anyone who obtained DACA status as of September 5, 2017 and to “maintain the DACA program on a nationwide basis.”

In response, Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of SAALT, issued the following statement:

“America’s founding ideals are grounded in the belief that we are all created equal. The President’s decision to end the DACA program in September 2017 rejected this core value and put the lives of nearly 800,000 DREAMers at risk. Meanwhile, over 15,000 people have lost their work permits and 122 DREAMers lose their DACA status every day, leaving them vulnerable to deportation. While yesterday’s court order provides momentary relief, we need a permanent fix by passing a clean DREAM Act that resists using DREAMers’ parents and family-based immigration as bargaining chips.

Month after month, and despite overwhelming bipartisan voter support for DACA and the DREAM Act, Congress continues to kick the can down the road, turning its back on hundreds of thousands of DREAMers. The US is home to 450,000 undocumented Indians, in addition to at least 23,000 Indians and Pakistani DREAMers. It’s time for Congress to do their job and to act once and for all.

On Tuesday, adding to his now-commonplace verbal gymnastics, President Trump claimed he’s willing to ‘take the heat’ to push through bipartisan immigration legislation. From terminating DACA, rescinding Temporary Protected Status, and supporting the RAISE Act, immigrant communities have been feeling the heat for nearly a year under this administration’s anti-immigrant agenda. We demand less talk and more action to pass a clean DREAM Act with no additional border enforcement or cuts to family immigration.

SAALT along with our national partners will continue to apply maximum pressure until our leaders do their jobs and represent the American people’s demands. Congress must act now and ensure that a clean DREAM Act is part of the January 19 spending bill.”

***
South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) is a national, nonpartisan, non-profit organization that fights for racial justice and advocates for the civil rights of all South Asians in the United States. Our ultimate vision is dignity and full inclusion for all.    

CONTACT: Vivek Trivedi – vivek@saalt.org

BLOG: Why You Can’t Be Neutral About Net Neutrality – Civil Rights At Stake

Tomorrow, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote on a plan to reverse its 2015 “Open Internet Order,” which established net neutrality, ensuring that all online content is treated equally by internet service providers. Essentially, net neutrality prevents companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T from blocking, slowing down, or speeding up online content based on the user and their ability to pay for faster or increased services. Eliminating net neutrality allows internet service providers to charge user fees at their discretion for access to certain content.

In this digital age, the internet has been a way for poor and working class families to connect with critical employment, health services, and even legal assistance. These issues impact all of us, including South Asian Americans. At SAALT, our online intake form for individuals who have experienced hate violence or discrimination is an important internet tool that allows us to direct people to legal services. Creating a “pay to play” environment threatens the ability of the poor and working class to get these important resources. Numerous studies, including a recent investigation by the Center for Public Integrity, reveal that families in poor areas are five times less likely to have access to high-speed internet than families in affluent areas. Allowing internet service providers to charge user fees further restrains access to online content and widens this disparity even further, which throttles civil rights..

Black-led media justice organizations like the Center for Media Justice and the Voices for Internet Freedom Coalition have defended net neutrality for decades and were instrumental in the FCC’s 2015 decision to codify net neutrality. Their tireless work has shown the importance of an open internet for social justice organizing, healthcare access, rapid response to national disasters, and content creation for artists, just to name a few. All of these reasons should be enough for South Asian Americans to join the fight to preserve net neutrality. But digging further into recent demographic data shows exactly how many poor South Asian Americans would be hurt by the elimination of net neutrality.

According to recently released data from the Pew Research Center, there are currently 5 million South Asian Americans living in the United States. Of those, over 10% or more than half a million live in poverty. For Nepalese and Bangladeshi American communities, this figure is nearly 25%, and for Bhutanese Americans, this figure jumps to 33%. With these staggering levels of poverty and inequality in our community alone, it is critical that we understand net neutrality as more than a politically charged issue, but a fundamental civil rights issue.

We must also consider the backdrop of this poverty, inequality, and unequal access to information. It occurs in a national climate that is fueled by this Administration’s white supremacist agenda, fanning the flames of hate to heights not seen since the year after 9/11. SAALT and our allies regularly document incidents of hate violence and xenophobic political rhetoric aimed at South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern, and Arab American communities. Exactly one year since the 2016 presidential election, SAALT documented 213 incidents of hate violence alone against our communities, which is over a 60% increase from the previous year. These stories rarely make news headlines because the victims are disproportionately Muslim or perceived to be Muslim (84%) and often do not have the power of law enforcement or the bully pulpit behind them to get the recourse they deserve.

South Asian American communities and all communities of color are doubly victimized by this Administration’s agenda that both fans the flames of hate and attacks civil rights by issuing Muslim Bans, rolling out mass deportations, and eliminating net neutrality. As we established in our last report “Power, Pain, Potential,” there is a relationship between rolling back civil rights and increasing vulnerability to hate violence. South Asian Americans should be alarmed and activated to speak out now.

Resources to learn and act now

To take action on net neutrality, please see guidance from the Voices for Internet Freedom Coalition.

To learn more about SAALT’s efforts, check out our 2017 report “Power, Pain, Potential” that documents incidents of hate violence and xenophobic political rhetoric aimed at South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern, and Arab American communities in the year leading up to the 2016 presidential election. Stay tuned for an updated 2018 report that documents the year after the 2016 election.

If you have experienced an act of violence or discrimination, you can report it confidentially on SAALT’s intake form here or call our partners at the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law at 1-844-9-NO-HATE and get resources and support.

Lakshmi Sridaran
Director, National Policy and Advocacy, SAALT

Last Chance to Force Congress to Vote On and Pass a Clean DREAM Act

Since President Trump terminated the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in September, you have heard about our efforts to speak truth to power. During a 2-day mobilization in Washington, D.C. last month, South Asian DREAMer, leader, and SAALT ally Chirayu Patel asked elected officials at a rally on Capitol Hill, “What is the legacy you want to leave behind?” You heard SAALT’s Executive Director, Suman Raghunathan, demand a clean DREAM Act without any compromises on increased border enforcement that will negatively impact immigrant families.

Over the last three months, DREAMERs have been deported by the thousands, with over 100 DREAMers falling out of status every day because Congress’s failure to act. Additionally, the government is terminating Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for several countries that are still reeling from war, disease, and natural disasters. So far Nicaragua, Honduras, and Haiti have been on the chopping block. Nepal and others could be up next.

We are now at the end of the year and Congress needs to deliver.

Funding for the government expires this Friday, December 8th and Congress plans to pass a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the lights on. This is likely the last must-pass spending bill of the year, and the last chance for us to get the DREAM Act and TPS legislation through Congress this year.

Here’s what you can do today to force Congress to vote on and pass a clean DREAM Act and TPS legislation now: 

Call your elected officials and tell them why they must include the DREAM Act in the last must-pass spending bill of the year. Urge them to withhold their vote on any spending bill that does not include a clean DREAM Act. It is critical that calls are made this week before a Continuing Resolution is passed on December 8th. Click here to find your Member of Congress.

See below for a sample script!

“I am calling to urge you to sign on to the bi-partisan DREAM Act of 2017. As a South Asian American constituent, I am calling on you to support the DREAM Act now and ensure that it is included in the year-end spending bill. 

This legislation would allow our DREAMers who are as American as you or me to remain in the only country they have ever known or called home. You may be surprised to know that there are at least 450,000 undocumented Indians alone in the U.S. and there are at least 23,000 Indians and Pakistanis who are eligible to remain in the country, be shielded from deportation, and legally work through the DREAM Act.

We need you to exercise courage and leadership on behalf of our families and our communities so we can all thrive. I urge you to sign on to a clean DREAM Act with no border enforcement. Will you commit to voting NO on a year-end spending bill that does not include the DREAM Act? I am happy to share more information if useful or connect you with South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a national organization representing our communities in Washington, D.C.” 

Understanding the Muslim Bans

The Muslim Bans are a series of discriminatory executive orders and proclamations that the Trump administration has implemented. While the first version, Muslim Ban 1.0, was signed and went into effect on 1/27/2017, within a day of being signed, thousands of individuals across the country rushed to the airports in protest, and significant portions of it were immediately blocked by the federal courts. The administration has continued to issue different versions of the Muslim Ban, which are working their way through the court system.  Just as with Muslim Ban 1.0, the federal courts have temporarily blocked significant portions of the subsequent Muslim Bans, finding them to be blatantly anti-Muslim, unconstitutional, and an abuse of the President’s power. The fight to challenge the Muslim Bans continues.                                               

BEYOND THE BAN: OTHER DISCRIMINATORY POLICIES AGAINST MUSLIMS

Despite intense opposition and criticism from the public, allied legislators, and the federal courts, the Trump administration has also pushed forward other discriminatory policies that share the same goal as the Muslim Bans and target Muslims and other immigrants and communities of Color.

Extreme Vetting (or the Backdoor Muslim Ban) – On 3/15/2017, the Secretary of State called for enhanced screening of nationals of the six countries included in Muslim Ban 2.0. On 5/23/2017, the Office of Management and Budget approved discretionary use of “extreme vetting” questions, including inquiries into social media accounts and extensive biographical and travel information from the last 15 years. Impacts of the policy include a dramatic decline in visa applications; further delays in visa issuance to nationals of Muslim-majority countries targeted by the Muslim Bans; and discriminatory practices while issuing visas.

Ending Temporary Protection Status (TPS) for Sudan – On 9/19/2017, a few days before Sudan was removed from Muslim Ban 3.0, the Trump administration announced an end to TPS for Sudan, effective 11/2/2018. Sudanese TPS holders may be forced to return to a country that is still unstable, despite this being the very reason for originally granting TPS to people from Sudan. These measures raise concerns about what is to come next for over 400,000 people with TPS from different countries.

Slashing Legal Immigration and Cutting Diversity in our Immigration System – On 2/7/2017, Senator Cotton (R-AK) and Senator Purdue (R-GA) introduced a bill that would cut green cards by more than half and end our family-based immigration system. If passed, the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act, would cut current levels of legal immigration by over 50%, and eliminate the Diversity Visa Lottery Program, which provides opportunities for countries that send few immigrants – often those with a majority of Muslim and/or Black populations – to apply for a green card.

Slashing Annual Refugee Admissions – On 9/27/2017, the Trump administration drastically lowered the annual refugee admission cap from 110,000 to 45,000, the lowest cap since 1980, and Muslim Ban 4.0 specifically targets countries that account for approximately 80% of all Muslim refugees resettled in the U.S. in the past two years.

 

*The information provided in this document is just a basic summary and is not legal advice. Every person’s situation is different. For legal advice please contact an attorney. For any information regarding the Muslim Bans please contact Subha Varadarajan, Muslim Ban Legal and Outreach Fellow: A project of Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus, CAIR San Francisco Bay Area, and National Immigration Law Center at varadarajan@nilc.org *

 

Ban # Date Issued Targeted Populations[1] Impact on Refugees Duration Key Court Actions Current Status
1.0 1/27/17 All refugees and nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen Halted entire program 90 days for all nationals (not dual citizens) of targeted countries; 120 days for refugees; indefinite for Syrian refugees On 2/9/17, the Ninth Circuit held that the Ban should be blocked Revoked by Muslim Ban 2.0 on 3/6/2017
2.0 3/6/17 All refugees and nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen Halted entire program 90 days for all nationals of targeted countries,

120 days for all refugees

On 6/26/17, the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) allowed part of the ban to go into effect, applying it to those lacking a bona fide relationship[2] to the U.S. On 9/24/17, the Ban on nationals from the targeted countries expired and on 10/24/17, the Ban on refugees expired. SCOTUS dismissed the cases challenging the ban as moot.
3.0 9/24/17 Most or all nationals from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen and government officials from Venezuela and their families N/A Indefinite On 10/17/17 the Maryland district court in IRAP v. Trump blocked the Ban for all individuals with a bona fide relationship to the U.S[3]

 

Pending review:

On 12/6/17, the Ninth Circuit Court of appeals will hear Hawaii v. Trump, and on 12/8/2017, and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear IRAP v. Trump

4.0 10/24/17 Refugees from Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan,

Syria, Yemen and any stateless individuals

Halted program for targeted populations and extreme vetting measures for all other refugees Indefinite Challenge filed district court in Seattle (JFS v. Trump) on 11/13/17 Still in effect, preliminary injunction hearing set for 12/21/2017

[1]  Waivers may be granted under circumstances set in each Executive Order or Proclamation.

[2]  As of December 1, 2017, close familial relationship in the U.S or a formal documented relationship with a U.S entity. Familial relationship includes parents (including in-laws and step- parents), spouses, fiancées, children (including step children), siblings (including step and half-siblings), grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins. Formal documented relationship between students and universities; workers and companies; and lecturer invited to speak; among other examples are required.

[3] The Hawaii district court in Hawaii v. Trump initially blocked the Ban for all individuals, BUT on 11/13/17 the Ninth Circuit limited this ruling to only protect those individuals with a bona fide relationship to the U.S.

SAALT thanks our partners at National Immigration Law Center (NILC), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC) for this infographic.

SAALT Responds to SCOTUS Decision to Reinstate Muslim Ban

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) is deeply disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision to allow full implementation of “Muslim Ban 3.0″ during the appeals process. In response, Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of SAALT, released the following statement:

“No one should be discriminated against on the basis of how they look, how they choose to pray, or their country of origin. ‘Muslim Ban 3.0’ remains reprehensible at its core and discriminatory in its intent. While the Supreme Court did not rule on the merits of the ‘Muslim Ban,’ court after court has consistently rejected it as outright discrimination and a threat to our most fundamental constitutional protections.

The third version of the ‘Muslim Ban’ will only contribute to a worsening climate of hate aimed at our communities. The Supreme Court’s decision comes on the heels of the President tweeting incendiary and irresponsible anti-Muslim videos last week, posts applauded by white supremacists such as David Duke and denounced by the British Prime Minister and civil rights organizations.

Anti-Muslim policies and rhetoric continue to have deadly consequences. The FBI’s 2016 hate crimes statistics reveal that assaults against Muslims have surpassed levels reached in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Since the election, SAALT has documented over 205 incidents of hate violence aimed at South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Arab, and Middle Eastern Americans, a 58% increase from the year prior. Due to a massive underreporting of hate crimes, we know this is just a fraction of the attacks our communities experience regularly.

We will not remain silent in the face of these divisive and un-American policies. Our communities will stand united at airports, marches, and in the courts. The majority of Americans are against the ‘Muslim Ban’ and we will continue to sound the alarm against policies that drag our country backwards. To form a more perfect union, we must begin by standing against the ‘Muslim Ban.’”

***
South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) is a national, nonpartisan, non-profit organization that fights for racial justice and advocates for the civil rights of all South Asians in the United States. Our ultimate vision is dignity and full inclusion for all.

CONTACT: Vivek Trivedi – vivek@saalt.org

SAALT Condemns President Trump’s Tweets as “Unconscionable and Un-American”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) condemns President Trump’s appalling and irresponsible actions in retweeting unverified videos portraying Muslims committing violence. The videos were titled: “Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!”, “Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!” and “Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!” The President’s tweets will only serve to actively incite violence against communities in his own nation at a time when Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim face historic levels of violence. This is not only unconscionable, it is un-American and deeply disturbing.

In response, Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of SAALT, released the following statement:

“The President’s incendiary and irresponsible tweets this morning will continue to create an atmosphere of hatred, fear, and suspicion of our communities. The source of the President’s retweets is an ultranationalist British party leader who has been previously charged with “religious aggravated harassment.” In response to the President’s tweets, David Duke, former head of the Ku Klux Klan stated, “Thank God for Trump! That’s why we love him!”
The actions and message sent across by the President must be condemned and renounced immediately.

Hate remains sharply on the rise in the United States. According to the FBI’s 2016 hate crimes statistics, anti-Muslim hate crimes increased by 19%, anti-Hindu hate crimes increased by 100%, and anti-Sikh hate crimes increased by 17%. According to PEW, assaults against Muslims have surpassed levels reached in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

Since the election, SAALT has documented over 205 incidents of hate violence aimed at South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Arab, and Middle Eastern Americans, a 58% increase from the year prior. Due to underreporting, these incidents are just a fraction of the violence our communities continue to face.

As a result of Islamophobic federal policies such as the Muslim Ban and the President’s semantic stampedes on twitter, our communities continue to suffer injustices at the hands of white supremacists and anti-Muslim hate groups nationwide.

We must demand better from our President and democracy. The United States was founded on the principles of religious freedom, and our leaders must promote rather than counteract these values. SAALT opposes this administration’s acutely anti-Muslim rhetoric and policies, and will continue to demand dignity and full inclusion for all communities.”

***
South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) is a national, nonpartisan, non-profit organization that fights for racial justice and advocates for the civil rights of all South Asians in the United States. Our ultimate vision is dignity and full inclusion for all.

CONTACT: Vivek Trivedi – vivek@saalt.org